Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Technical Difficulties

Darren Danger's computer has a bad video card and has been sent off by Best Buy to who knows where so it can be repaired.  Please stay tuned.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Season 2010

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and that your New Years will be even better!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Columbian Building

With an address of 112-114 W 6th St., the Columbian Building is a fine Victorian-era office building in downtown Topeka.  Designed by Seymour Davis in the Romanesque-Prairie architectural style, it was built in 1888 and opened in 1889 as the United States Savings Bank.  Projected to cost $50,000 to build, the final total ended up closer to $75,000.  It's original name was the William C. Knox Building.  Mr. Knox was the founder of the U.S. Savings Bank.  Unfortunately, the bank closed in less than five years during a depression in the early 1890's. 

Since then, many owners and tenants have come and gone.  From 1902-1907 the U.S. Weather Bureau had it's offices on the top floor.   One of the most colorful moments in the building's history occurred in 1901.  At that time the Anti-Saloon League, the leading Prohibition organization in the United States, had an office in the building.  Carrie Nation, Anti-Saloon League member and famous for taking her hatchet and vandalizing bars in the name of temperance, attempted to visit her attorney in the Columbian building.  An angry mob followed her there.  They eventually forced their way into the building and began searching for her.  She was led down a back way into a basement boiler room, and eventually out the back door to safety and freedom.

The building wasn't called the Columbian Building until 1920.  The former Columbian Bank in Topeka was started in this building before relocating to 8th and Kansas.  A fire in 1937 did major damage to the top two floors.  Renovations in the late 1970's and early 2000's have kept the building looking nice.  It has been on the National Historic Register since 1977.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lyrics for Sale

Bob Dylan's original hand-written lyrics to "The Times They Are A-Changing" sold at an auction in New York on Friday for $422,500.  The sheet of lyrics, pictured above, were projected to sell for $200,00 to $300,000. 

It is thought that Dylan wrote these lyrics in September and October, 1963.  It was recorded at Columbia studios on October 24, 1963.  He was deliberately trying to write an anthem, a "big song" as he put it.  I would say "The Times They Are A-Changing" pretty much defines the term "protest song."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How Not To Repair A Lawnmower

One wonder of the internet is the ability to read local newspapers from practically any town of any size anywhere in the U.S. (or world, for that matter).  If you browse through a lot of them, or do specific kinds of internet searches, you can find a lot of interesting articles about some really kooky people doing some really silly things. 

After reading enough of these you can really tell that for every few thousand normal people, there is one person who does things that are particularly unpredictable, strange, or just plain stupid.  I love reading about people who attempt not so well planned crimes, or, as in the case with this first story, have accidents as a result of poorly thought out schemes.

I look for headlines like this one from the St. Louis Today webpage about a story that took place in St. Joseph, Mo:

Missouri Home Damaged by Lawnmower Fire in Bedroom

It turns out a man was "smoking a cigarette while working on  his lawnmower Monday in the bedroom of his home."  Presumably his ciggie ignited some fuel.  The house was a total loss, and he had to go to the hospital with injuries.  They say he's going to live, so I'm going to bookmark this website to watch for his next mention.  A woman in the home was not injured.  I wonder if she knew he was working on his lawnmower in the bedroom?  Did she barely notice because he fixed the transmission of his Taurus in there last month?  Maybe she is the one who suggested he do it there in the first place. 

Not surprisingly, many of the people doing crazy things are intoxicated.  There are plenty of people who, once they booze it up, completely lose control of common sense.  Take this headline, from the Morning Call webpage, which covers news in the Philadelphia area:

Intoxicated Man Fights With Police at Perkasie Tree-Lighting Ceremony

You know, it's like clockwork.  Every year at this time I start thinking about the Christmases of my life, I get a little misty-eyed, a little emotional.  That's when I slam about 10 beers and make a beeline for the local downtown tree-lighting ceremony and start picking fights with cops.  In this particular case a drunk 66 year-old man lost track of his son at the tree-lighting festivities, then fought with the officers who were helping look for him.  Nothing says "please  help me" like a staggering drunk throwing a right cross at you.

The police reports articles in the local papers are always a treasure trove of people doing strange things.  Some really small towns print just about anything as news, just to fill some space.  Just casually browsing the web sitting here I came up with these news stories:

La Grange, IL- A woman saw two boys carrying several cartons of eggs toward Ogden Avenue School. She asked them what they were planning to do with all those eggs. They informed her they planned to bake a cake.

Gurnee, IL-  A Wildwood woman, 32, was charged with retail theft at Wal-Mart, 6590 Route 132, accused of stealing $44 worth of tampons and screwdrivers.

New Haven, CT- Police say a 25 year old man was shot twice after buying a sandwich at a deli, then went home and ate his lunch before going to the hospital. 
Vancouver, Canada- An intoxicated 22-year-old suspect was not seriously injured when he suffered stab wounds to his abdomen after falling on the blade of his own butcher knife during what appeared to be a robbery around 2 a.m.

South Bend, IN-  WSBT Chief Meteorologist Rick Mecklenburg was booked on two misdemeanor preliminary charges of false reporting. Police say Mecklenburg called them to his home, saying police hit his car and were firing shots at him. Police say there was no evidence either of those were true.

New Sharon, ME- Bob Neal, a turkey farmer, said he was shocked to find out that a state health inspector had written an employee up for not wearing a hair net, especially because the man had no hair. "Here it was, two demerits for a bald man not wearing a hair restraint," he said."

I could go on forever writing out funny news stories like this.  But I'm sleepy, so I'm going to stop now.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

30 Years Gone

Thirty years ago, December 8, 1980, John Lennon was killed.